12/11/2001 12:00AM

Mason takes long-range approach

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ALBANY, Calif. - This has been a pretty good month for trainer Lloyd Mason, and it will get even better Thursday at Golden Gate Fields if Lookn at the Wire wins his maiden.

Lookn at the Wire heads a field of seven 2-year-olds in a one-mile maiden race that includes Lawn Mower, a colt he beat by a nose in their last start.

"He's by Swing Till Dawn," Mason said. "When they're older, they run better. He's out of Just Lookn, a nice filly we had who won $200,000."

Just Lookn made his debut July 1 at the Alameda County Fair at Pleasanton, finishing seventh in a field of 10 in a five-furlong race.

"He hit the rail right out of the gate," Mason said. "He didn't get hurt, but we gave him time to get over it mentally."

Lookn at the Wire ran well in his second start on Sept. 23 at Bay Meadows but was no match for the talented Wild Celebration, finishing fourth in a contentious race. He has three straight seconds since then, including his last start at a mile in the slop.

"He gets better all the time," Mason said. "I look forward to racing him when he's 4, 5, and 6. Swing Till Dawns run on the grass well, and our goal is to get him on the grass."

Two-year-olds can blossom overnight at this time of year, and Mason knows his colt has talent. But even after Lookn at the Wire wins for the first time, Mason won't rush him.

"I really feel to do right by a horse, you should go through his conditions, not that he couldn't go right into a stakes," Mason said.

Mason had a big weekend. His 2-year-old Appaloosa, He's Spotless, won the $35,000 Star of Stars Futurity at Los Alamitos.

"I'm not an Appaloosa trainer, but Jerene Stuart McMurry, the lady who breaks horses for me in Washington, asked if I'd take him. The only reason I took him is because I respect her so much. Everything she tells me about horses is true."

Mason said He's Spotless "looks like Secretariat coming down the lane. I don't think there's an Appy around who can beat him. He can beat any 2-year-old I have in my barn."

The winning in Mason's barn isn't limited just to horses. Mason's long-time assistant, Faith Taylor, just won the bareback competition at the women's national rodeo finals. A two-time world champion in the event, she finished second this year despite competing in only five events.

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